My name is Royi Berkovitz and I design T-shirts.
Most people buy T-shirts, without really knowing what they are getting. T-shirts, and fashion items in general, are not products that we think too much before purchasing. After all, these are just T-shirts, not a car or a house.
People often buy a T-shirt just because it is made by a brand they like, or maybe they like the print on the shirt. Maybe it is on sale so they go ahead and buy it.
That is all fine, but how much do you really know about the products that you are buying?
You work long hours and get hard earned money, so wouldn't it be better for you to spend it wisely?
Today I want to offer you knowledge regarding many important aspects of choosing a T-shirt.
I will also provide you with a promo code for a 10% discount for all purchases at my store, at the end of this article.
In this article, I will cover the following topics:
- The common types of fabric T-shirts are made of and their costs.
- The common types of printing there are for T-shirts.
- Other factors to consider while buying a T-shirt.
The common types of fabric for T-shirts
There are many types of fabrics that T-shirts can be made of, but I will focus on the most common ones:
Fine brushes are used to eliminate short strands and straighten fibers, making the fabric stronger, softer, and smoother.
A stretchy knit typically made from cotton or a synthetic blend, it’s very flexible and comfy.
The first two types of cotton (combed cotton and Jersey) are quite similar, and are very common nowadays.
Made from the flax plant, the textured weave dries quickly, making it cool to wear. However, it wrinkles easily.
Linen is great for the summer, and is usually very thin, perfect for hot summer days, when you wish to stay cool.
Maintains its shape well and resists shrinking and wrinkles. Not breathable.
Polyester T-shirts are usually less wrinkly, but wearing them on a hot day can be a drag, as they are not so pleasant while sweating.
Cotton combined with Elasteane
In many cases, to create better flexibility, the manufacturer uses Elastane, also known as Spandex, to make sure the T-shirt is stretchy. Usually, blends of cotton with Elastane means there would be about 95% cotton and 5% Elastane.
There are also other types of cotton such as synthetic cotton, Modal and others, but the ones listed above are the most common.
Usually, T-shirts made of cotton cost less than T-shirts made of cotton combined with Elastane. This is due to the fact that Elastane based T-shirts last longer and cost more to produce. In most stores, a blank 100% cotton T-shirt would cost half, sometimes even one-third of the price for an Elastane combined with cotton T-shirt. Polyester T-shirts usually costs the same as cotton.
If you are like myself, then you probably care about the method in which your T-shirt is printed.
Why is this important?
It is important because there is a direct correlation between:
- The type of printing the T-shirt undergoes and its price.
- The type of printing the T-shirt undergoes and its durability and wearability (but we will get to that later).
The most common type of printing used today, also since it is the cheapest to use, is called Heat-Transfer. This involves printing the desired design on a special paper, using a special ink, in reverse (like looking in a mirror), and then placing the paper aginst a T-shirt, inside a "Press" machine, at about 375ºF, for about 13 seconds. After that, the print will show beautifully on the T-shirt.
Nowadays, many companies use printers that also cut the paper around the edges, so that it looks good as well.
Since it is relatively cheap to make, T-shirts printed using this technology are usually inexpensive and cost about $10-$20 per T-shirt (and $20 is quit expensive for this technology).
With that said, I personally do not like this technology, because the T-shirt feels like plastic on your skin and, in addition, the prints usually do not last long. There are ways to prolong the T-shirts life, but this I will specify in my next article. I never buy T-shirts printed using heat-transfer, and I really wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
In this technology, the ink is spread across the fabric in layers. It is a very common technology for large companies, as it is only worth the expense when printing bulk quantities. The disadvantage of this technology is that it is limited in color range, as many colors will not fit on Screen Printing, when mixed together. If a T-shirt design is made of 1-6 main colors, it is perfect for this technology. However, more complicated designs will not be able to be printed using Screen Printing.
Screen Printed T-shirt feel nice on the skin, and for that reason, they are very common. Usually, they cost a bit more than heat transfer made T-shirts, but when they are on sale, they can, at times, cost the same.
Direct to garment
This is a relatively new technology, that came about in 2005, and took over the printing business. It is an expensive technology, but it does have few advantages:
- It allows great detail to be printed onto the T-shirt.
- It allows a huge range of colors, and the ability to print all over the T-shirt (as shown to in the picture on the right).
- It feels like the T-shirt itself, meaning you will not feel any inconvenience while wearing these sort of printed T-shirts.
Since this method is relatively expensive, the price for the customer can be anything between $25 to $50, depending on the size of the print, the quality of the shirt, the amount of T-shirts made in one order etc.
Other factors to consider while buying a T-shirt
Usually, people are divided into two groups:
The first group of people will buy a T-shirt if it looks nice to them, not thinking about the type of fabric it is made of, or the printing technology that was used to create it.
Usually, people who do not particularly mind the quality of the shirt or the print, would go for T-shirts that cost no more than $15. That is okay, because if you do not mind, the that is fine.
However, as stated before, heat transfer prints "crack" easily after just a few runs inside the washing machine, and at that point, wearing the T-shirt just becomes annoying, because it looks older than it really is. In addition, there is the issue of the print feeling like plastic on your skin.
Another issue to consider is the shape of the T-shirt. Usually, people which are more fit would like T-shirts that show their muscles, which often means - T-shirts that are made using Elastane and cotton blend. These are usually a bit more expensive than the 100% cotton ones, as explained previously.
The length of the shirt is another issue. A T-shirt (for guys) should be long enough to cover the stomach area, even when we lift our hands up. Usually, shirts that are longer are made using more planning and design time put into them, and are therefor a bit more expensive.
The difference between a nice looking T-shirt and an okay (kinda) looking one, can sometimes mean a $10 difference between the two.
The second group of people usually either understands that fashion is important and looking good has some expenses. People in group two also have probably learned, by now, that it is better for them to pay more for items that last longer, though being more expensive. Usually, these type of people would invest a bit more time understanding what they are getting, before they purchase, and, would appreciate the quality, more than the people in the first group, because - initially, they care a bit more about the quality and longevity of their clothes.
Personally, I belong in the second group, when it comes to my choice in T-shirts.
I understood long ago that materials matter. Print quality matters.
I have not yet discussed the importance of the message a printed T-shirt can deliver to another person, and how that should b taken into account when buying a T-shirt. This I will go into, in upcoming articles.
I hope you liked this article and maybe learned a thing or two. If you did, please share it with your friends, so that they may enjoy it too.
Be sure to visit my store at RoyiB.com for awesome T-shirts, which I personally designed, all printed by Direct to Garment technology.
In my store, you are able to get T-shirts, dresses, phone cases, posters and much more.
Now, as promised, you can use this promotion code for a 10% discount at check-out: